The White Thread
- contemporary architecture
ARCHIMATIKA architects, the authors of the housing complex in the south part of Kiev, found a brilliant solution that unites three visually different volumes into a single living organism.
Dmitriy VasilyevDmitriy Vasilyev
Object:WhiteLines residential complex
The concept of WhiteLines – the typology, still rarely seen on our market, when a housing complex includes virtually all the functions that its residents may need, from housing stock to movie theaters – was proposed to Dmitry Vasiliev and Alexander Popov by their client. The architects enthusiastically welcomed it: the idea of a whole city block, whose residents are provided with everything that they may possibly need directly at the place of residence, is quite resonant with the idea of a comfortable living environment that has long since become the creative credo of ARCHIMATIKA. “When you are living in a home where you can get down to the grocery store with your slippers on, then go to the movies dressed in your bathrobe, and go to the swimming pool in the morning – this is just the right concept for our climatic zone” – reasons the cofounder of the company Dmitry Vasiliev.
The land site, upon which the complex will be built, is located in the south part of Kiev, at the fork of the Holoseevsky Avenue and the Vasilkovskaya Street. Limited from the west by the Uzhgorodsky Lane, it has almost a regular triangular shape, but, because of the fact that its acute angle is crossed by the building of the Alexander Dovzhenko National Center, the construction site turns into a trapeze. This location, of a “background” nature if viewed from the avenue, set quite a challenging task for the architects: how do you make sure that three 24-story towers, which are “peeking” from behind the squatting parallelepiped of the Dovzhenko Center, do not look like chaotically planted odd volumes? The architects did come up with an interesting solution (more of which is below), but at this point we must mention the advantages of this territory, chief one among them being an immediate vicinity with the beautiful Holoseevsky Park, aka Maxim Rylsky Park – a monument of gardening art with creeks, promenades, and playgrounds slowly bleeding into an almost virginal forest. In addition, in the immediate vicinity of the construction site, the “Holoseevskaya” metro station is situated.
The three high-rise towers rest on a two-story podium, at the corners of the platform, in the advantageous vantage points. The podium contains all of the sports and entertainment functions, while its roof is used as the private landscaped yard, which is only accessible to the residents of the complex. As far as the shopping arcade on the first floor is concerned, it was decided to turn it outside, with its face to the city. “Today, there is a totally dead area there – Dmitry Vasiliev explains – People who walk down the avenue to their homes from the metro station have to walk alongside a dead concrete fence – a waste of time and space, really. We, on the other hand, want to make a living street with shops, cafes, and drugstores – everything that may come in handy not only for the residents of our complex but the whole area as well”.
So, how do you bring together three high-rises if their podium is not seen from strategically important vantage points? It was clear that designing façades in a unified fashion alone would not do the trick – some vivid and bright-looking solution was needed. After a long creative search, the architects came up with an idea of a horizontal line being the plastique leitmotif, which would run as a red thread (well, a white thread, actually) over all of the volumes of the complex. It looks as if the architects took the all-glass towers and wound a white thread around them, row after row, and not in a really neat manner – at some places it is thicker, at some – thinner, and at some points it breaks down only to begin again at another point; it covers, of course, the podium and the building of the Dovzhenko Center as well – now everyone will clearly see that this whole complex is a single (and living and breathing) organism. The white “thread” also performs a purely utilitarian function: it conceals the air conditioning units, so it is quite a motivated solution. The image turned out to be so bright that recently the complex, formerly known as Smart Plaza Holoseevo, was renamed into WhiteLines.
Oh, yes, and a slight hint at organics can also be traced in the not-too-regular shape – akin to forest mushrooms – of the high-rise volumes, all the more so because, starting from a certain height, the architects are proposing to replace the strictly rectangular floor plans with parallelograms with rounded corners that take on a wave shape alongside one of the walls. This feeling is also strengthened by the nonlinear outlines of the awnings of the shopping gallery, which also look like fungi that grow on old tree trunks.
Most of the residential premises in WhiteLines are meant for family couples with kids – here they will not only be able to go for walks in the Holoseevsky Park but also get a suntan in their own sun bed or play basketball on the roof of the podium. It was this specific target group that the architects had in mind when they designed the floor plans of the apartments, among which are also two-tier ones. And, as far as the apartments’ floor plans are concerned, this is something that ARCHIMATIKA approaches in a particularly creative and careful way, their philosophy being that each meter of such expensive housing must be used rationally and with utmost comfort – 99% of the apartments have been designed in accordance with the PRO method, as the architects call their layouts developed by painstaking analysis of various parameters for better efficiency of using each square meter.
The project got shortlisted by the international award World Architecture Festival in the category “Commercial Mixed-Use – Future Project”. The construction is due to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018.